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Octopus - Deploy DB automatically with EF migration

This post will explain how to automatically deploy database for an application in Octopus with EntityFramework.

Build Data project

The data project contains all entities and a data context which inherits from DbContext and EF migrations. In real world application, it shouldn't be like this. All the entities should be placed in a different assembly. DbContext and Migrations should be in another assembly.

Suppose that the project has EF installed

Configuration entity

public class Configuration
    public Configuration()
        Id = Guid.NewGuid();

    public Guid Id { get; private set; }

    public string Version { get; set; }

    public string ReleaseNotes { get; set; }

    public DateTime SetupDate { get; set; }

XBankingDbContext context

public class XBankingDbContext : DbContext
    public XBankingDbContext()
        : base("name=XBankingDatabase")

    public IDbSet<Configuration> Configurations { get; set; }

Enable migration

Use this command Enable-Migrations to enable Migrations in PM console.

Use this command Add-Migration to add the first migration.

Override the method Seed of Migrations/Configuration class as below, which will add

protected override void Seed(XBankingDbContext context)
    var version = typeof(Configuration).Assembly.GetName().Version.ToString();

    if (!context.Configurations.Any(c => c.Version == version))
        context.Configurations.Add(new Data.Configuration()
            SetupDate = DateTime.Today,
            Version = version


Packaging and push to Octopus

Use OctoPack to pack Data package, then use below command to publish the package to Octopus. Also add migrate.exe from EF package as a link into the project.

msbuild Demo.XBanking.sln   /t:Build 

Config deployment step in Octopus

Create a Deploy a NuGet package step, choose a good package (suppose it is Demo.XBanking.Data), then enable Custom deployment scripts feature for the step.

To make migrate.exe work, pust some PowerShell commands into Post-deployment script as below

Write-Host "Connection String: <"$ConnectionString">"

$fullPath = (Join-Path $OctopusOriginalPackageDirectoryPath "migrate.exe")
Write-Host "Migrate Path:" $fullPath

Write-Host "Working Dir: "$(get-location)

# Run the migration utility
& "$fullPath" Demo.XBanking.Data.dll /startUpConfigurationFile=Demo.XBanking.Data.dll.config /connectionString=$ConnectionString /verbose | Write-Host

There are some variables should be configured in Octopus, (check references for more information)

  • $ConnectionString : connection to the database. If not specifying, the tool get information from .config file.

Here is an result screenshot



  1. Migrate.exe references
Written on October 26, 2015